This has become a routine, digression, of what I’m reading – this weekend. I’m reading Girl Reading still, just over couple of chapters left. Besides that, I’ve recently discovered Zadie Smith through Book Riot so I’m adding her The Embassy of Cambodia to the pile. She narrates it too, I’ll have a listen afterwards. I am fond of narration by author, I don’t know many, only Neil Gaiman. He narrates most if not all of his. I think I should have room for more. Perhaps finishing The BFG and start the fourth book (The Unraveling) of the Wool omnibus tomorrow. Not this weekend, perhaps next, might start her On Beauty, which I’ll borrow from my sis. She bought a copy from a book fair a while ago. Looking forward to reading it.
Ah… weekend, weekend, weekend… weekend is here, it seems to have creep up on me, maybe because it is a short week. I welcome it, who doesn’t. Summer is almost over, I dread it though it is getting a tad too warm for my liking at times. What will I be reading this weekend to make the most of it? Girl Reading by Katie Ward which I’ve just started last night, still early to comment so jury is still out.
The other book I’m currently reading is an omnibus by Hugh Howey, I should be finishing the third book (Casting Off) this weekend. It’s a post apocalyptic series where humanity forms underground dwelling to survive. That’s the cover, a Christmas present from couple of years ago. I’ve originally bought it on Kindle before it hit the shelves. An enjoyable read so far.
Came across these at local bookstore recently – PaperPlus, another franchise but didn’t get them. Gone back today for them, rather cheap too. After War and Peace I’ve been looking for my next big read and have decided on Ulysses. Lovely cover too. I just love the Penguin Modern Classics. The Penguin English Library is equally nice. It’s all Penguin for me if it is the right one.
Another Friday, another Whitcoulls browse – just about the main local franchise bookstore these days post Borders, late night for shops. Selected books are on 30% discount, so I’ve picked this up. My guideline these days are if they are cheaper than Book Depository, grab them. I’m surprised how tiny and short it is. Might read it this weekend, could be a quick read on one sitting, looks good too, well, it is a classic.
Laneway 2014, weather cleared, summery but windy. I was covered up pretty well but sunburned from neck up despite my conscious effort to avoid it. It is summer after all.
Hightlight was Chvrches, they were the second last act on main stage. Daughter was all right though sound level could had been better but glad to have finally seen them live. Well worth getting there early. Cat Power was a let down, it’s just not the same without her band.
Progress update, it’s day 24 and still on track. My must read for this year:
A Game of Thrones
A Clash of Kings
A Storm of Swords: Steel and Snow
A Storm of Swords: Blood and Gold
A Feast for Crows
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
March by Geraldine Brooks
The House of God
In Cold Blood
The Ocean at the End of the Lane
Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman
Platform by Michel Houellebecq
The Quiet American
Heart of Darkness and Other Tales
Wool 2: Proper Gauge
Wool 3: Casting Off
Wool 4: The Unraveling
Wool 5: The Stranded
There are quite a few big books so hopefully I’ll be able to get through them.
If I have couple of months left after all that, will throw in Secret History, Bleak House and Jane Austen’s 6 novels.
I started reading Anthony Briggs’ version on paperback but with a book of this size, I ended up reading most of it on my Kindle, which is a translation by Louise and Aylmer Maude. It is just much easier to handle. Although both versions are great, I have grown accustomed to the latter. I wouldn’t mind picking up the paperback once in a while and rereading parts of it. Naturally, I’ve searched the net for a comparison and found exactly what I was looking for. It was written by a blogger known simply as Kat.
I am not a reviewer, even if I am, I wouldn’t attempt to write one after only reading it once. Much has already been said about it and I am only flogging a dead horse if I try. What I can do instead is to give my feedback and the things that I discovered.
The standing joke, when asked what the novel is about, it is about war then there’s peace, war again and then peace. There’s a grain of truth in every joke, it is actually true in this case.
Originally serialised in a magazine before published as a novel, the novel is divided into 4 books or volumes and an epilogue, then into parts and chapters. Each book alternates between war and peace and hence the title.
Though Tolstoy said that War and Peace is not a novel which I agree to certain extend primarily because there is no plot as such. There are snippet of stories here and there told in a fragmented fashion but as a whole it is tied up rather well as a novel.
A less common one at least to my knowledge which I found on Lisa Hayden Espenschade’s blog:
Russian high school students read War and Peace in the tenth grade, and many people joke that the girls read Peace and the boys read War.
Likes and Dislikes
Having not known much about War and Peace, I had gone in blind and was really surprised that it is quite philosophically and even therapeutic.
I can’t say there are any major peeves other than its length which ironically can be its merit, adding to the experience of a good read if that makes any sense. It is not dry at all which Moby-Dick is for sure at times. I am not exactly sure why the random comparison between the novels. Perhaps it is another novel with unparaphrasable plot that springs to mind which serves a good contrast.
I thought I had an original idea of comparing it to soap opera but that has already been done. A quick search on the net comes back with plenty of hits. That just goes to show that everything that needs to be said has already been said.
On tackling the novel
I think the chief aspect is in dividing it into manageable parts. The general impression that I got was that there are two camps in this approach. What I like to call the marathon and the sprint.
The marathoners usually spread the novel out over a period of a year or 6 months. Sprinters allocate a chunk of their time on finishing it within couple of months. I am more inclined to the latter which was how I read it. Mainly because I found it harder to sustain reading it over lengthier period. It seemed that most people read it in the same vein. So realistically it is best tackled when on holiday where one can do nothing but read, eat and sleep.
It is pretty common to drop it after a while and return to it later. So reading it really takes dedication, which I can vouch for. Dedication is the hurdle and that is the general consensus. I stopped after reading about 200 pages, picked up again about a year later and finished it during the holiday period. So it is definitely doable if one needs to read it in burst. I’m lucky where I am that we get a few weeks off for Christmas and New Year. What better time to sink my teeth into it.
I conclude with a quote from the book that is amusingly fitting for its readers.
A person in motion always devices an aim for that motion. To be able to go a thousand versts he must imagine that something good awaits him at the end of those thousand versts. One must have the prospect of a promised land to have the strength to move.
But that native land was too far off, and for a man going a thousand versts it is absolutely necessary to set a side his final goal and to say to himself: ‘Today I shall get to a place forty versts off where I shall rest and spend the night’, and during the first day’s journey that resting-place eclipses his ultimate goal and attracts all his hopes and desires.
My first challenge of the year is to finish War and Peace which I still have about 1/3 to go. I am planning to have a really big reading year with lots of challenges to achieve. Second would be to finally read all the books that I have received from Christmases and birthday which I’ve not read any of them. There is the A Song of Ice and Fire series that I really need to start cracking and I still have 4 Harry Potter books to go. But mainly the challenge that I am most excited to kick off is to have an annual author readathon starting with Jane Austen this year. I’m not sure how much of that I will get through but I’m off to a good start.
I had a really good reading year despite leaving all of it till last couple of months. On top of that, I managed to finish my Goodreads reading goal ahead of time. I remembered it fondly having read the most number of books in a month of 11 in total. They were quite an eclectic selection since most of them weren’t in my to read list.
Having finished my goal early, I have decided to resume reading War and Peace which has been in my currently reading pile since September last year. Since then I am about 500 pages in, reading about 45 pages per day with the aim of finishing it this time round. I must say Book Two is very enjoyable so that is definitely a good sign. I am not one to leave a book unfinished so worst is reading a longish book and it being a slog. In fact I find it quite agreeable at this stage that I think I should miss it in the end if it continues to read as well.
As far as I can gather, the best version to read is one translated by Louise and Aylmer Maude. That is the one I am currently reading on my kindle. I also have a paperback by Anthony Briggs which I bought couple of years ago as I wasn’t clued up at the time, not that it is inferior, just a preference on my part.